Thursday, April 24, 2014

Lucy Ethel Day In Cologne

Chocolate Museum

A visit to the Chocolate Museum (which showcases the 3000-year long culture of chocolate around the world) was definitely in order how could I resist especially as I am an admitted chocoholic.  It was a bit of a walk to the museum but finally made it, it was also hard to find. The admission of 6 euro included a piece of Linz chocolate.  The beginning of the museum was about on where the beans come from, how cocoa beans are gathered how poorly the workers have been paid over the years.  Then in the center was a “rainforest” In cooperation with the Rainforest Foundation "OroVerde" to German "green gold" is informed about the importance of the tropics. 
The best part was the small chocolate factory they had chocolate in large vats and there was a fountain that the chocolate was pouring out of and there were several women handing out samples, they would dip a wafer into the melted chocolate and hand it out. It was so good and I was very bad and I managed to get  3 sample of the warm chocolate wafer, (my secret as to how but it is doable) confessions of a chocoholic.  The women reminded me of Lucy  and Ethel in a popular episode of I love Lucy. You could follow the process as the chocolate was poured into molds, moved along conveyor belts and the pieces were wrapped quite quickly by a robot.  

chocolate fountain


wrapping machine

"Lucy" gets the chocolate

I decided to take a Rhine River cruise even if it was just a short one, so I could say I cruised the Rhine.  I bought a ticket and got a decent seat. It was a nice ride and it was good to be able to view some places across the river closer up. I had planned on getting off when they stopped at the zoo, but unfortunately I did not know you had to be at the door waiting to hop off so by the time I made it down the stairs the boat was pulling away I was quite annoyed  at this. I had to ride back to the beginning of the tour and get off and then walk back to the Flora and Botanischer Garten which was about 30 minutes away walking along the river, it started to sprinkle a bit as I got Zoo area which I knew it was near but I had trouble locating it, so I had to wait in zoo admission line to ask.  It was about another 15 minute walk  but it was well worth it.

Cruising the Rhine with Cricket

tip toe through the tulips

cricket admiring the garden
Botanischer Garten

fountain steps

The garden was huge with many sections it had stopped sprinkling for a bit so I was able to explore and amazingly it was FREE. There was some work being done on one of the buildings which I later discovered was  the patterned after the Crystal Palace in London. I explored the different areas including an Italian Renaissance garden and French Baroque garden every flower under the sun seemed to be there. I saw one flower that reminded me of a rose but also of a tulip, also Rhododendrons and tulips, lilies. There were  also several greenhouse one that included tropical rainforest plants, a smaller one with Bamboo, Cocoa, coconut palm to name but a few. It started to rain when I was in the green house and I was prepared with my umbrella but the rain lasted about 15 minutes so I was able to walk and explore further, I was still amazed all of this was for free.

I did not see any buses and I started to walk back to town and it started to rain but not too bad.  I saw a man walking and he was quite drunk, he crashed into a pole and he also fell onto the roof of a car and bounced back up and stumbled away, scary. I got back to the area I was staying in and actually figured a different way to my hotel and  the good part was spotting a grocery store near by so I could shop the next morning that was the thing about this trip I hardly ever saw a grocery store so have no idea where people would shop.  I went back to the Turkish restaurant I ate the night before and had a kabob, and walked around the Cathedral area but realized I was too tired and headed back to my hotel.